Tag Archives: interviewing

CAREER STORM PREPARATION

clip_image002BY: Adam Gavriel

Preparing for the Storm

A recent study has shown that just 36% of CEO members of the business roundtable plan to add workers over the next six months, which is down 6% from 42% when the same survey was taken three months ago. Obviously, this is NOT good news if you are one of the many Americans who find themselves unemployed at the moment.

Jim McNerney, the group’s chairman and CEO of The Boeing Co. tried to explain this dip in confidence by saying that there is “concern over increasingly persistent obstacles to a stronger recovery.” Mr. McNerney was talking about uncertainty over future tax increases and of course the financial crisis that is currently striking Europe.

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YOU WANT TO DO WHAT?

Resume Objective

BY: Adam Gavriel

Searching for a job right now? Take a look at your resume quick. If next to the objective you have something like “Looking to obtain a job in the marketing field” you have already found one of your problems. There’s a reason your objective is to be placed at the top of the resume and that’s because it is the gateway to the rest of your experiences and skills. It is used to prepare the reader, and hopefully future employer, about what your resume entails and what kind of skills you have built up over the years. However above all, you can use your resume to show the employer that you’re interested in helping them, but not just yourself.

Take a look back at the objective at the top of the blog here: “Looking to obtain a job in the marketing field.” One way to easily beef up this objective would be to simply add “Looking to obtain a job in the marketing field where I can apply my social media skills.” Right away you’re showing the employer what you’re all about, or what your biggest strength in the marketing field is. Then when the reader continues to read further down your resume they don’t need to be surprised that you have experience with social media.

Let’s take it even further.

When an employer is thinking about hiring a new employee they’re not thinking about how they can help that employee but how that employee can help their firm. Knowing this it’s never a bad thing to show the employer that you’re interested in applying your skills not to further your career but to aid the firm in their ultimate goal. “Looking to obtain a job in the marketing field where I can apply my social media skills in order to build and maintain rapport with clientele.” This objective notes that the main goal of this firm is to increase consumer opinion via social media. Going back to a few weeks ago where we blogged about researching the company before you interview, it would also be of great importance to research a company before you write your resume. If you can learn what the main goal of that firm is, and can somehow work it into your resume’s objective the hiring firm will know you’re serious when you send in your resume.

If this same firm’s main goal with social media was to increase consumer activity or consumer spending, that would work in the objective too: “Looking to obtain a job in the marketing field where I can utilize my social media skills in order to build sales and consumer loyalty.”

Right off the bat an objective that appeals directly to the firm will be of greater importance to the hiring manager rather than an objective that is bland, or only in place to build up the interviewee.

This is just one part of what Crossroads Consulting can offer you with our resume service. We will tackle your resume from top to bottom increasing its efficiency and making sure that when an employer reads your resume it best outlines your skills and presents you perfectly.

Remember that we’re always updating our job openings and also make sure to like us on facebook, and follow us on twitter!

FAST FIVE TIPS ON INTERVIEWING

BY: Adam Gavriel

After a long holiday weekend one might find it very hard to remain prudent on their job search. However it is of most importance that you stay keen on your skills and continue to hone your craft. What better way to do that than to sit down to start the week and read these 5 easy tips on interviews. Welcome back to the work week, he’s how we hope to help get you through it…

1. In June we posted here on out of our mind the key phrase: “Know before you go” and it still rings true. Proving to a potential employer your interest in their company through prior knowledge you bring into the interview could make or break your chances at getting a job. Think of it this way, if you were interviewing for a job at Google, how impressed do you think they would be if you could tell them all about their newest social media venture Google+?

2. Another simple one. If you’re on time you’re late, if you’re early you’re on time. It would be in your best interest to get to a job interview at least 15 minutes before it is scheduled. Sitting in the lobby waiting for the interviewer will only give you extra time to prepare for potential questions. It will also show the company that you can be a loyal employee.

3. Dress the part, feel the part. Confidence can show in any manner be it the way you dress or the way you conduct yourself in the interview. Make sure you’re looking sharp.

4. Be prepared. Going back to the “know before you go” saying you should also come to an interview prepared. Just because you have already sent your resume and or cover letter to the company doesn’t mean they always have one handy. Make sure to bring enough copies so you’ll have plenty for anyone who may ask to see a copy at the interview. Also make sure that the resume you bring is as up to date as possible.

5. Know yourself. In short, know who you are, what your skills are, and be sure to be confident and explain yourself thoroughly. How can the interviewer get a grasp of how you can be as an employee if you don’t even know yourself? Make sure you can come up with real-life examples to answer your questions. Talk about a time where you displayed excellent team building skills or took on a role as a leader in a group work environment. Make sure when you leave the room you can walk out with your head held high and that you said everything you wanted to say.

These 5 tips are just a few of what we at Crossroads Consulting can offer you. Along with our resume optimization service and interview preparationwe are updating our current openings every day. Feel free to drop by the website and browse all of our services.

Also make sure to like us on facebook, and follow us on twitter!

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend, and good luck getting back to work!

JOB CONFIDENCE WANING

BY: Adam Gavriel

According to a telephone survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports 31% of American Adults believe that unemployment will be higher a year from today. This report comes at a 5 point increase from March. However, the same study showed that 29% of American adults believe the unemployment rate will go down, while 32% believe it will stay about the same.

Even with the increasing uncertainty in the unemployment rate, 21% of Americans believe that the job market is better now than it was a year ago. The statistics stay consistent when the report continues to say that 39% believe the job market is worse.

Also interesting is that workers under 30 (Generation Y and X) are more doubtful about the future of the job market than the older workers.

Now after the survey recorded in June, 3 out of 4 employees believe that when they leave their job it will be on their terms. This number is up from the 72% that was reported in May, as you can read in a post on out of our mind here. This number remains reasonable as the 19% of the same adults surveyed reported that their firms were currently hiring, while 23% reported that their firms are currently laying people off.

In today’s uncertain economy it all comes down to how prepared you are as an employee. The roughly 75% of workers who believe that when they leave their job it will be on their terms could be in for a hard surprise when it’s not. These same 75% of employees may not have a current resume finished and ready to send to employers while the 25% of those that are wary will more likely than not be prepared to get started on the hunt. It all comes down to preparation.

Stressed in every blog here on out of our minds is having that great resume and cover letter, being prepared for an interview. Knowing everything you can learn about a firm you are applying to can make or break your status as an applicant.

This is where Crossroads Consulting comes into play. Not only do we have the job listings for you, but we’ll walk you through every step of the way if you need us to with resume optimization and interview preparation services. At Crossroads Consulting we take pride in every resume we handle to make sure we are showing you off to the employer in the most efficient way.

Stop being so down on the economy and start doing something about it. Reading in that Rasmussen report that some potential employees looking for work have given up their search was extremely disheartening. It’s time to exhaust every opportunity you can. Have your resume optimized with us and begin sending it out to employers. Get your name out there and start making an impact on the job market today.

Make sure to follow Crossroads Consulting on twitter, like us on facebook, and connect with us on LinkedIn. Building that connection on social media could be your first step towards that new job.

INTERVIEWING TIPS

Here at Crossroads Consulting, we’re always here to offer as much help to you in getting ready for an interview as possible. Whether it’s Resume Preparation, or  custom individualized Interview Preparation, we offer it all.

But we also offer a lot of non-paid help to those coming to us.

Here, Amy Schlubach offers some tips on preparing for your next big job interview.

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INTERVIEWED AGAIN

Don’t work for free in a job interview

by: Aaron Crowe
 

One thing I’ve run into again and again in job interviews is being asked for my feedback on the employer‘s Web site and how to make it better.

I usually offer a few ideas and offer some ways to improve it, but don’t go into an exhaustive overview. After all, I’m not working for the company and don’t want to give them all of my ideas without getting paid or researching it more with other workers.

So I was a little taken aback last month when after a job interview, an employer e-mailed me and invited me to a second interview and asked me to review its Web site for content. I’m a journalist, so doing that is no problem, but the same situation could apply to any job seeker being asked for feedback.

It’s great to offer original ideas in job interviews, but throwing out everything you have at a job interview is giving away too much. I called and interviewed, via e-mail, a few career experts, and while some of the advice they offered is conflicting, it’s probably best to offer at least some strong feedback before courteously declining to offer more until you’re hired.

Don’t give free advice.

“I would tell people if you want to hire me, hire me, and I’ll fix it,” said Mitch Beck, president of Crossroads Consulting, an employment agency and executive search firm in Monroe, Connecticut.

“I am firmly against people giving away something for nothing,” said Beck, who likens such requests from hiring managers as robbery.

A consulting fee should be arranged if the work adds up to a few hours or more, he said. Otherwise it’s just free temp work being provided. Beck said he has a friend who did $2,000 worth of work for a company he was interviewing at, but withdrew his application when Beck told him to not do any more work for free until the company made him a job offer. If the company wanted to talk to him more without a job offer, he’d bill them for the work he had done.

“Anything worth doing is worth doing for money,” Beck said.

Companies can get away with this tactic because the economy is so bad and what used to take two weeks to fill a job can now stretch to a few months as they interview 10 people instead of three, Beck said. Companies can afford to be picky.

Give a little.

“You should not give away all your cookies,” but give the interviewer two ideas but not the entire thinking behind them, said Kevin Donlin, co-author with David Perry of Guerilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0.

Businesses will spend a tremendous amount of time getting people in for interviews, so gathering ideas for a problem they have makes sense for a short-term solution, but it won’t lead to the unique thinking each job candidate has, Perry told me in a telephone interview.

“You’re not necessarily going there to solve the problem,” Perry said. “You’re going there to show them you can think.”

What you don’t want to do in a job interview is close the door by accusing an employer of ripping you off and that you’ll give more ideas when you’re hired, Perry and Donlin agreed. It’s a bad foot on which to start a business relationship, they said.

Solve another problem.

Instead of answering their question directly and giving specific responses to their company’s problem, get them to explain what they’re looking for and tell them some stories about situations in which you’ve solved similar problems, recommends Stephen Balzac, president of 7 Steps Ahead, a management consulting firm.

Focus on the results you obtained, not how you arrived at that solution, so the employer can see you as “the” person to solve their problems.

“Don’t be afraid to give examples on-the-spot about how you would go about doing something because it shows the interviewer you’re results-oriented,” career expert Heather R. Huhman, who founded Come Recommended, said in an e-mail.

“However, don’t give away the farm. Add something along the lines of ‘If I’m selected for this position, I can produce those results and more’ to the end of your suggestions,” Huhman wrote.

Stress other factors.

You can give them an answer, but explain that anyone can pick up a book or read a case study and arrive at the same solution you’re suggesting. But the solution is a long way from applying it correctly on the ground, said J.R. Rodrigues, co-founder of a company that makes the Job Hunt Express software.

“My advice is to freely and wholeheartedly share your thoughts and opinions and experiences with the inquiring party,” Rodrigues wrote in an e-mail. “Just be sure to continually remind the person that it is the nitty gritty details, the perseverance, the discipline, the ability to adapt quickly to changes, etc., that makes implementing such a solution most effective.”

If it’s a problem you could solve in a few hours, then what would you do on the job after the first few hours? Show your insight and good decision-making skills — those are what employers want to hire and not just someone with a quick solution in an interview, recommended Steven D. Davies, president of PerfectJob Software.

Turn the tables.

Perhaps the most interesting advice is from Donlin, the guerilla marketing expert. When asked for solutions to a company’s problems, he suggests asking them what keeps them up at night about their competition.

Find out five things that worry them about their competition. After the interview, go to your car and call the company’s competitors and tell them that you’ve just learned what is keeping the company you just interviewed at up at night. Or at least entice them with that information. It should get you at least a few more job interviews.

It’s fair to use that information to further your own needs, Donlin said. If an employer wants to pick your brain in a job interview, you might as well pick theirs.

All is fair in love and war, and in the job search.

Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area who can be found at www.AaronCrowe.net

CROSSROADS CONSULTING INTERVIEWED

We were contacted recently by Amanda Koehler, Associate Editor for ADVANCE for Medical Laboratory Professionals and asked, along with some other experts in the field our thoughts on interviewing. Here is the article:

Interview Don’ts

Stay away from these snafus.

By Amanda Koehler

Sure, you’ve been told what to do during an interview. Maintain good posture. Have a strong handshake. Be timely when arriving to your interview. Wear appropriate clothing. But have you ever been specifically told what not to do during the interview process?

Sometimes it’s important to be aware of the interview “no-nos.” “If you know what not to do, you will decrease the probability of making choices during an interview that will likely prevent you from getting hired,” explained Brent Peterson, PMP, MS, MBA, creator and president, Interview Angel. “You do not have to conduct a perfect interview to get a job offer, but you do need to avoid some fatal mistakes.”

So what should you not do during an interview? Read on to avoid some specific interview faux pas and help yourself get that dream job.

Don’t Arrive Too Early

Punctuality is an important trait to have, especially when it comes arriving on time for your job interview. However, can you ever arrive at an interview too early? Our experts say “yes.”

“Think about it. If the interview is scheduled for 10 a.m. and you arrive at 9:15 a.m., the receptionist will call and announce your arrival, or the interviewer will see you are very early and feel pressured to begin the interview early,” noted Julie Bauke, owner, Congruity Consulting LLC, and author of Stop Peeing on Your Shoes: Avoiding the Seven Mistakes That Screw Up Your Job Search. “When I was in a hiring position, it would mildly annoy me the person apparently couldn’t tell time. It could also say, ‘I’m desperate or I don’t have anything else to do.’”

Being “on time” for an interview means being 10-15 minutes early maximum. Bauke advised if you do arrive to the facility early, sit in your car and review your résumé. If you’re driving in an unfamiliar area, do a dry run a few days before your interview to find the location.

Don’t Dish on Your Current Employer

It’s pretty much inevitable: the interviewer will ask you about your current job and why you want to leave it. This is not the time to talk about your hateful boss, your lazy coworkers or your awful hours.

“You should not say anything negative or personal about your current employer. Keep all comments professional and positive, regardless of how you may feel,” Peterson advised.

Bauke noted it’s OK to say your current job isn’t a good fit for you, but don’t go into too much negative detail. “It may be 100 percent true your current job is a place full of crazies, but your interviewer has no context of that. He may be thinking, ‘Maybe she is the crazy one,” she said. “Don’t put him in the position to decide who to believe.”

Don’t Wing It

Not preparing for an interview is a huge “don’t.” Always remember to review your résumé and think of answers to possible interview questions (such as, “Tell me about yourself? Why did you leave your last job? What are your strengths and weaknesses?”). It’s a great idea to have a family member, friend or even a career coach give you a mock interview to prepare.

“Don’t walk in cold. That’s a guarantee you won’t get the job,” stressed Mitch Beck, president, Crossroads Consulting LLC.

Beck also noted knowing information about the place where you’re interviewing is crucial. “Companies like to know you did the research. Google the company, read articles, look up financials and their stock ticker, if that’s available. Even Google the gal who’s going to interview you,” he said. “People think they have to think on the fly [during an interview]. If you’ve already done your research, there’s nothing to think about than to answer the questions as best as you possibly can.”

“Even in a strong economy, there is competition for job opportunities. Today, competition for jobs is intense,” Peterson told ADVANE. “If you wing it and an equally qualified candidate thoroughly prepares for the interview, who do you think will get hired?”

Another good reason not to wing it is the interviewer might assume you’ll “wing it” while doing your job as well, Bauke added.

Don’t Be a Blabbermouth

It’s easy to understand why people might talk too much during an interview. For some people, excessive talking is a sign of nervousness. That being said, try not to do it.

“The interviewer has a lot he wants to learn about you–let him ask the questions he wants to ask,” Bauke said. “Answer the questions and shut up. The interviewer may be thinking you will also talk non-stop on the job.”

If nerves are your problem, remember the interviewer is probably just as nervous as you are, but she just isn’t showing it, Beck said.

Don’t Forget to Ask Your Own Questions

This interview is a two-way street. Just as it’s important for the interviewer to ask you questions to determine if you are a good fit for the facility, it’s also key you ask the interviewer questions about the job to see if the facility is a good fit for you.

Beck suggested bringing a notebook with questions you have for the interviewer. This is helpful in case you get nervous and forget the questions you wanted to ask. “If you don’t ask questions, it shows you have zero interest. If you have any interest at all in the job, it’s now your turn to interview them,” he said.

“Organizations want to hire people who want to be there, someone who is truly interested and has invested time in learning about them,” Bauke explained. “They don’t want someone who just wants a job. If he has answered everything you could possibly want to know about the company and job, ask the interviewer about himself–how long he has been there, what he likes about it, etc. Remember, people love to talk about themselves!”

Peterson mentioned having good questions for the interviewer can make you stand out in the candidate pool. An example of a smart question to ask is, “What is the most important contribution you would expect from me during the first 90 days?”

 

Phone Interview Don’ts

Phone interviews are becoming more popular, sometimes as an early screening process or if you are currently living far away from your potential new job. But just because you aren’t sitting in a conference room face-to-face with your interviewer, that doesn’t mean you should take a phone interview less seriously.

Don’t sit around in your pajamas with your hair a mess during a phone interview. You don’t have to wear a three-piece suit, but take a shower and dress up a little. It’ll make you feel more professional during the phone interview.

Bauke also said to make sure you are not multitasking during your interview. Don’t answer e-mails, make lunch, watch TV or drive while you are speaking to your interviewer. Peterson added to make sure you are in a place without a lot of background noise.

Other Don’ts

Salary is always a touchy subject during the interview process. Bauke suggested not bringing the subject of your paycheck up during your first interview. “Let them get to know you first. The more they decide they have to have you, the more flexible they will be when it comes to salary,” she added.”

She said if salary doesn’t come up by the end of the second interview, it’s OK to ask, “Can you give me an idea of the salary range for this position and the company benefits?” Even though you should know what your personal expected range is when it comes to salary for that position, don’t reveal your bare minimum number to the interview.

Even though it might seem like common sense, Beck said don’t ever go to an interview in unacceptable attire. “I don’t care if you’re going to an interview for a dog groomer or a car mechanic position, you wear a suit and a tie,” he noted. “Even if the place is a casual environment, it’s about showing respect.”

No matter how much you may need this job, don’t let it come through during the interview. “You could be down to your last dollar, but never, ever, ever act desperate. They don’t need to know that. You don’t want to give the impression this is your last chance in life. If they are interested in you, they then know they don’t have to pay you as much; they’ll know you’ll take anything,” Beck explained.

Peterson said his most important “don’t” deals with the “who you know” concept. “Don’t ever assume your résumé and connections will automatically get you hired,” he stressed. “Those two factors may get you the interview, but it’s the interview that gets you the job.”

Bauke said not to forget to ask about the hiring process works and when you should be expecting a response so you can follow up appropriately. “Your follow-up strategy–and your expectations–will vary greatly depending on whether they will be making a decision tomorrow or 3 weeks from tomorrow,” she said.

Amanda Koehler (akoehler@advanceweb.com) is associate editor of ADVANCE.

Additional Don’ts

Don’t leave your cell phone on during the interview. “I don’t care if your wife is 8 months pregnant, shut off your cell phone. Nothing is so critical it can’t wait an hour. This shows respect during the interview, and it’s important.” –Beck

Don’t get thrown with the “what are your weaknesses?” question. “No matter what you say, it’s going to bite you in the butt. What I’ve learned over the years from my experience is people want to know whether you can follow directions or not. So for example, you could say, ‘I don’t see any glaring weaknesses, but I can tell you this, I know I’m not perfect. I know you’re going to find different things you’d want me to work on, and I will be willing to work on them. I’m open to constructive criticism.’” — Beck

Don’t assume the interviewer has your résumé. “Have extras available. If they tell you you’re going to be meeting with three people, make sure you have six copies. This shows you are prepared, and you never know, you may need all of them.” — Beck

Don’t lie. “Tell the truth. The truth is the easiest story to remember.” — Beck

Don’t give a limp handshake. “Don’t ever give somebody the dead fish grip. It’s gross. What kind of a handshake is that? Fist bumps don’t work either!” — Beck

Don’t wipe your hand on your pants post-handshake. “What you do with your hand after you shake someone else’s says a lot. If you wipe your hand on your pants, it’s like saying, ‘I want your disease off of me.’ Even if his hand is sweaty, don’t do that. If your hand is sweaty, make sure to wipe your hand off before you have to see him.” — Beck

Don’t be afraid to ask what you did wrong during the interview. “There’s nothing wrong at all in asking someone for a critique. It’s showing you care. People are terrified to find out they did something bad, but wouldn’t you want to know if you screwed up so you can make it right the next time?” — Beck

Don’t give the wrong answers. “Sometimes your answers simply are not good enough. This usually happens when your skills/experience/strengths are not directly connected to the position. Many people will have a set speech in all interviews; however, if your skills are not catered to that specific position and interview, then this will come off as unprepared.” — David Couper, career life coach

Don’t forget to react. “An interview is more than just question and answer time. You need to connect to your interviewer and prove there is a spark, a personality behind the words. Make eye contact, smile, use your hands, concentrate on your mannerisms and show enthusiasm. After all, no one wants to hire a robot, even if he has all the right answers. You need to make your presence known.” — Couper

Don’t come sick. “Be sure you are healthy or take over-the-counter meds to be sure you are not sniffling, coughing or sneezing.” — Jim Villwock, founder and chief job doctor, Job Doctors International LLC

Don’t cross your arms. “Even if you have a faulty internal temperature control device like me, do not fold your arms around yourself to keep warm. Crossing your arms makes you appear insecure, uncomfortable, defensive or close minded, none of which will be received positively during an interview.” — Abby Kohut, president and staffing consultant, Staffing Symphony LLC

–Don’t forget the interviewer’s name. “Using it during your interview will help you remember it and create a connection.” — Heather R. Huhman, founder and president, Come Recommended

Don’t argue with the interviewer for any reason. “This will not get you anywhere.” — Huhman

Don’t forget to thank them. “Always–I repeat, always–send a thank you note at every stage of the hiring process, to every individual with whom you speak or meet. As usual, send an e-mail thank you within 24 hours and for that added touch, also send a shorter, handwritten thank you note via snail mail.”– Huhman

–Don’t take yourself too seriously. “Laugh with the hiring manager. It could help you land the job!” –Huhman

Don’t come to the interview with moral support. “Bringing your parents or a friend will not impress your potential employer.” — Huhman